VIA Rail Canada held its 2011 Annual Public Meeting today
OTTAWAL, June 14, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada held its first
Annual Public Meeting today at the Ottawa Train Station. Broadcast
simultaneously on the Internet, the meeting provided an opportunity for
the public to learn about VIA's business operations, financial
performance and VIA's projects for improvements.
It also gave the public a chance to speak directly with Mr. Paul G.
Smith, Chairman of the Board, Mr. Marc Laliberté, President and Chief
Executive Officer, and Mr. Robert St-Jean, Chief Financial and
Administrative Officer, during an open question period. The Chairman
and executive officers also answered questions sent by email from
members of the public who could not attend in person.
Major investment program
Mr. Smith mentioned that, with an unprecedented investment by the
Government of Canada of $923 million, VIA is transforming the future of
passenger rail. "It is the biggest capital investment program in VIA's
history," Mr. Smith said. "It will give VIA the tools -- the
infrastructure and equipment -- to ensure that passenger rail provides
relevant, vital services connecting Canada and Canadians across the
country in the years ahead."
Mr. Laliberté noted that infrastructure improvements in the
Quebec-Windsor corridor will expand the capacity of passenger rail,
allowing VIA to carry more people. He added that "this is essential
for one of our top priorities -- connecting more Canadians by offering more frequent train services, faster and better
schedules, and more reliable performance."
In an overview of VIA's performance in 2010, Mr. St-Jean said that
travel markets continued to struggle following the 2009 recession and
despite that context, VIA revenues increased by 3.2%.
"This means that we are earning more revenues per passenger," Mr.
St-Jean added. "And if we look at the first quarter of 2011, things
look even more encouraging. Compared with the first quarter of 2010,
passenger revenues are up 6.3%, and passenger volumes increased 2.7
percent. So revenues continue to increase, due in large part to better
revenue management, and we've got ridership back on track for growth."
Mr. Laliberté also outlined VIA's strategy to achieve two further goals
-increase our services in a value for taxpayers perspective, and making
passenger rail "not only the safest, but most operationally efficient
mode of public transportation in Canada."
Commenting on prospects for the future, Mr. Laliberté said that "2011
will be a pivotal year, as key investment projects move forward and
reach completion. As we continue to focus on the immediate challenge
-- maintaining steady growth in the months ahead -- I am confident that
this pivotal year will mark an important step towards our vision for
the future. "
About VIA Rail
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate
is to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost effective
passenger transportation, in both official languages. Every week, VIA
operates 503 intercity, transcontinental and regional trains linking
450 communities across its 12,500 kilometre route network. The demand
for VIA services is growing as travellers increasingly turn to train
travel as a safe, hassle free and environmentally responsible
alternative to congested roads and airports. Follow VIA at twitter.com/via_rail and facebook.com/viarailcanada.
SOURCE VIA RAIL CANADA INC.
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